The Office Party by Whitney G.



“I drove to the one in New Jersey.”

“You don’t have a driver’s license, let alone a car.” He pauses, turning me on against my will—preventing me from jumping over the railing and running back to my room.

“I greeted the team in Hawaii for day one and decided it would be best to let you think that you got away with this,” he says. “For what it’s worth, I’m highly impressed with the level of detail that you put into this plan. That’s probably why I made you one of my top advisors.”

“Is it too late to be demoted?”

He smiles, closing the gap between us. You’re welcome for the upgrade, by the way. I thought you deserved to sleep in the best suite this place offered.”

“I also deserve to spend the holidays how I choose.”

“I agree.” He looks at his watch. “You have the rest of tonight through tomorrow afternoon. Since the storm is expected to worsen tomorrow night, I decided to arrange transportation to Hawaii for you. You and your sister can share my other jet.”

“My sister doesn’t want to leave here.”

“Oh my god, we’re leaving?” Georgia suddenly rounds the corner. “Before the storm hits? And we’re going to Hawaii?”

“Yes.” Garrett answers, keeping his eyes on mine. “You are.”

“Oh my god, thank you!” She lets out a sigh of relief. “Your boss isn’t that awful of a person at all, Savannah!” She tilts her head to the side. “And you totally lied about what he looks like. Wow.”

Garrett smiles at her before turning his attention back towards me.

I mouth, ‘I fucking hate you’ to him, and cross my arms. “I think it’s way past time for you to let this office party go. This tradition isn’t necessary.”

“It’s something that my late father, who I respect and love, implemented.”

“You hate your father, and he’s still alive. I saw him at a coffee shop two days ago.”

“Did he say anything to you?”

“Let me out of this office party, and I’ll let you know.”

Silence.

We stare at each other in a stubborn stalemate, the same one we face every day in the office. I refuse to make the next move.

“Miss Grey,” he says, “the jet will be ready to take you to Hawaii at three o’clock.”

“I’ll show up for it at four.”

“I figured, so I told the pilot to prepare for takeoff at five.” He steps back, looking me up and down. “If there’s nothing else we need to discuss at this moment, I’ll see you at the office party.”

I bite my tongue and let him win this round, let him walk away under his aura of cockiness. With every step he takes, I vow that I will have a new job before next year’s office party.

I will never let this happen again.





ONE YEAR LATER





TWO





Savannah





This Christmas

Manhattan, New York





Please don’t talk to me right now. Please don’t talk to me …

I twist the key in the lock of my brownstone, hoping it’ll give way and save me from an awkward conversation with the woman who lives next door.

She’s obsessed with the holidays, and she insists on making everyone on this block sign off on her “magical wish list.” She raves about how much it works, but last year, I specifically requested a new job with a better boss, a top floor office that overlooked Manhattan, and a pair of pajamas so soft that I would learn how to stay in bed. In return, I received a promotion as Chief Advisor to Satan, brand new furniture and flowers in my current office, and a rash from the set of flannel pajamas Georgia sent me.

“Savannah?” She calls. “Savannah Grey, is that you?”

Shit. I force a smile and turn around. “Yes, Miss Cole. It’s me.”

“You’re getting more gorgeous by the day!” She adjusts her bright red Santa hat and walks over to me. “If your boyfriend lived in town, I’d invite you over for one of our private parties. My husband has a huge crush on you, you know.”

I nod. I never know what to say when she tells me this, and I’m pretty sure that she and her husband are swingers.

“Anyway, it’s one day before December, so you know what that means.” She pulls a glittery red envelope from her breast pocket, followed by a huge black pen. “Time to write down your top three things that you want Santa to bring you. Make sure to seal it, so he’ll know it’s real.”